Imbolc traditionally is the secret start of spring. In the UU Fellowship I was part of in Ohio, one of the Pagan leaders would tell a story for Imbolc that envisioned ancient people huddling in their dwellings at Imbolc and seeing signs of the coming spring in the pregnant goats and sheep that they kept as livestock.
Imbolc is associated with Brighid, the Hearth Goddess of Ireland. It is a time for fire rituals and new beginnings, much like the fire ceremony we perform at New Year’s. What does this time of year represent for you? How do you notice and mark the passage of time, from the darkest day in December to the longest day in June? What new beginnings are you aware of now?
Imbolc has its modern descendent in our culture as Groundhog Day. It’s interesting to me how ancient Pagan holidays became modern ones: Yule became Christmas; Ostara became Easter. These are major Christian religions near the major Pagan holidays at the solstice and the equinox. Imbolc descended as Groundhog Day (around February 1st) and Beltane descended as May Day (around May 1st) These holdays are more clearly earth-centered, as is the Pagan tradition itself. The 8 Pagan holidays represent 8 equal parts of the year, our journey in time and space.
May this time of Imbolc refresh you in the presence of winter with its gifts, and the promise of spring to come in its due time.
Goddess Brighid, Goddess of the hearth and the fire, bless the homes of all who dwell in winter. May warmth be present at the hearth of every family and every person. May those who are cold find a place by the fire.
Bless our new beginnings in this time; bless the turning of the year from darkness to light.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
February 10, 2022